i've always been interested in knowing people's stories. their histories. the reasons behind how they act.
tonight as i sat with my dear friend elizabeth in starbucks, studying and just getting away from the mountain, an old gentleman walked into the coffee shop. since we were sitting next to the door he didn't notice me watching as he walked up to the counter to order his drink.
he had on blue dress pants and a blue dress shirt with suspenders, and perfectly round spectacles. his order came out in a lilting english accent, making the drink sound twice as good as it actually was.
as the words seeped out of his mouth, i began to wonder what brought him to the chattanooga starbucks in the first place. there were many options. perhaps he was in town for a family reunion. maybe he was here visiting children. the last option struck my fancy. perhaps he was an author.
yes. the more i thought about it, the more he looked like a literary proficient. he was standing at the ordering counter with a twenty-something young man, dressed to the nines. this added to the story that had begun to form in my mind.
the seventy-five year old gentleman was being escorted around the city by this twenty-something. his recent publication was taking him on a tour throughout the lower half of the continental united states, but, being of elderly stature, he needed someone more proficient in travel and business dealings to make sure he showed up where he needed to be, and when.
they were grabbing coffee on their way to a book signing that would not be well attended. this gentleman's work was not overly publicized, not well heard of, but it was of the top quality. the few literary connoisseurs in the area had been anticipating his visit for months, and he couldn't wait to meet the small group of people who had been dedicated followers over his 45 year career.
his wife of 55 years was back home in london, editing his next work by their fireplace, pictures of their family and friends decorating the small cottage he had bought with the work of his pen over time. as she sat in her rocking chair, his recently typed pages from his brand new typewriter on her lap next to their cat, she sighed a small sigh, imagining america in all it's glory and hoping she could make the trip with him someday, to meet all the readers he talked about meeting when he came home from his book tours.
their future is certain in her mind. they will continue to grow older. he will keep writing. she will keep editing. they will forever live in the little cottage with the fireplace, aging with grace.